Here is another piece of response art from Caroline Norris on the book of Hosea.
The idea for this piece came to me in the middle of the sermon about Jonah (sorry Vince). However, I do not think it is unrelated. As illustrated by Jonah’s interaction with the Lord concerning the plant he was given for shade, we, as a people, so quickly feel entitled to the gifts that God bestows upon us.
Throughout Hosea, Gomer is constantly abandoning Hosea in pursuit of her other lovers. She is unable to recognize the source of her provisions and missuses them- “She did not know that it was I who gave the grain, the wine, and the oil, and who lavished on her silver and gold, which they used for Baal.” [Hosea 2:8]
The grape vines are representative of the vineyard of the Lord. Specifically how wine is a symbol for joy – the joy of having a friendship with the Living God. We have access to the king’s vineyard, where there is joy everlasting.
The reaching hand is representative of us, the church, grasping elsewhere to fulfill our desires- ultimately, grasping into empty space. The hand is distorted in order to symbolize our warped perceptions and priorities.
This hand is also a direct juxtaposition of the hand of the Lord reaching out towards us, as illustrated in the piece for the series as a whole. As we are reaching away from Him, He is reaching out towards us.
“But then I will win her back once again. I will lead her into the desert and speak tenderly to her there.” Hosea 2:14
We are currently walking through the Minor Prophets together on Sunday mornings. As a church we encourage our people to respond to what they are learning from God’s Word. Some respond in conversations with others, some respond with questions and further investigation, some write out their thoughts and some express their thoughts in art. Below is a piece of response art on the book of Jonah by TJ Norris. Below the image is his written description.
Although most emphasis is traditionally put upon the story of Jonah and the fish, I personally was impacted by the book’s ending. As Jonah sat outside Nineveh, God provided him a plant to shield him from the intense sun, bringing him comfort for the rest of the hot day. But the next morning, God provided a worm that began chewing on the plant, making it wither so that it was no longer providing any shade. Without even praising God for the shade of the plant in the first place, Jonah felt so entitled to the comforts it provided that he wanted to die when they were taken from him. Contrary to the great remorse he felt over the death of this plant, Jonah showed no concern over the looming demise of city of Ninevah. He instead was filled with angst and anger at the thought of God saving this city full of more than a hundred thousand people.
So often God provides comforts for us that we easily take for granted without even acknowledging that it was God who gifted them to us in the first place. It’s easy to catch myself feeling entitled to comforts big and small, convincing myself that I earned them and thus deserve them. This passage led me to feelings of conviction about my own entitlement towards the gifts that God graciously provides me and revealing my tendency to easily feel upset over the loss of something insignificant while there are much bigger problems all around me. To me, this whole lesson is wrapped up and summarized by God’s simple question to Jonah at the end of the book that very easily reveals the posture of our hearts: “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” – TJ Norris
Last Sunday (9.22.19) we began a new sermon series in the Minor Prophets. Every time we begin a new sermon series we ask one of our many artists to come up with a graphic for that series. We have a desire to see the creative people in our church using the gifts God has given them for the building up of the church.
Below is the graphic for the series and Andrew’s description of how this series came about.
Artist Statement: On September 12th this design came to me quickly, clearly, and I can honestly say, from outside of myself. Usually when I’m working on a design for a sermon series I spend time in the passage, then have a fairly strong design feeling that I work out through trial and error. But this one was different. At 11:09 am that morning I had absolutely nothing and at 11:10 the Spirit put this in my head.
Throughout the Minor Prophets, God keeps calling His people back to to Him, back to his heart. He’s holding it out, offering himself to an unrepentant or temporarily repentant people. Not embracing Him leads to destruction. There’s nothing we can DO to earn this restoration, only when we’ve fully surrendered to his embrace and his will, will we be restored.
There is more symbolism in this design, some that I understand and some I pray that the Spirit will continue to reveal over the course of this series. But I feel like I’m not supposed to explain it further but instead call all of us to engage and interpret it together over the course of the next 13 weeks as we engage His word.
This is the thirteenth and final piece of art for our series “We Believe.” You can see the explanation to the entire series here.
Read more about our doctrine here. Listen to the sermons from the series here.
The inspiration for my work comes from Revelation 21, where John is lifted in the Spirit to a mountain (v10) and given a vision of the New Jerusalem descending from heaven. The work itself is a digital composite of four photographs taken locally in Colorado with a few added elements. Each element is meant as a symbol that relates back to Revelation 21:
The background sky is a long exposure shot of the Milky Way to represent the new heaven (v1) which no longer includes the sun or moon (v23).
The distant ground is a photograph taken at the Black Canyon of the Gunnison representing the new earth without seas (v1), and the cliffs glowing red from the lake of fire below (v8).
The New Jerusalem is described as a “jasper, clear as crystal” (v11); thus, the city is represented with a macro shot of a polished and shining red jasper. The city has 12 sides to represent the 12 gates for the 12 tribes of God’s people (v12).
Each gate has an angel standing guard (v12), and the 12 rays of light signify God’s redeeming light spread through the 12 apostles, whose names are written into the 12 foundations of the city (v14). The city is described as being “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (v2), and thus is lightly veiled with the galaxy Andromeda.
Finally, the light source, and the source of glory, is the victorious lamb. John “saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb.” (v22-23).
Hallelujah He has risen, and will return again to make all things new. John writes in Revelation 7:9-12 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!” And all the angels were standing around the throne and around the elders and the four living creatures, and they fell on their faces before the throne and worshiped God, saying, “Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen.”